Turkish soldiers wounded as Assad forces hit Idlib post

Syrian government forces allegedly targeted a Turkish observation post in the Idlib region with mortar fire and shelling, causing damage but no casualties.

The Turkish Defence Ministry said on Sunday that that Syrian regime forces launched an artillery attack from Idlib region’s Tall Bazan on Murak, where a Turkish observation post is situated.

The ministry which made representations to Moscow over the incident said Turkish forces immediately retaliated with heavy weapons.

“Turkey’s 10th observation post was “deliberately” targeted in a mortar attack in which three soldiers were wounded.

According to the statement, the observation point located near Mount Zawiyah was targeted by 35 mortar rounds fired from the regime-controlled As Shariah region some 3 kilometers away.

The observation point facility, equipment, and other supplies were partially damaged and the wounded soldiers were evacuated, pro-government Daily Sabah cited from the ministry’s statement.

“It is impossible for us to tolerate the regime’s harassment targeting our soldiers. We will put them in their place,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a televised speech in the southern Turkish province of Hatay, bordering Syria, Reuters reported.

“It is the responsibility of Iran and Russia, with which we have worked in close cooperation on Syria, to halt the regime,” Cavusoglu said, adding that the aggression violated the Idlib agreement which Turkey signed with Russia.

Russia supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his country’s civil war, and Turkey has long been a backer of rebels in Syria but Moscow and Ankara signed the Sochi agreements with Russia on the Idlib de-escalation zone last year.

The Sochi agreement is seen as a big test for the close relationship between Russia and Turkey as the deal has faltered in recent months leading to hundreds of thousands of civilians fleeing the area following the Russian backed Syrian militaries’ bombing.

Idlib is the last remaining bastion for anti-government rebels after eight years of civil war.

Moscow said  Syrian government forces didn’t attack Turkey’s outposts and it was carried out by Assad’s rebel enemies.

The White Helmets civil defense group has said that at least seven civilians have been killed by Syrian government air raids in the northwest province of Idlib on Saturday.

Idlib is the last territory held by the opposition groups and has been under bombardment by the Syrian government and its ally Russia since April. At least 300,000 people have been driven from their homes due to the violence, while more than 300 civilians have been killed since fighting broke out in the area.

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